Year started: 2004
Eligibility: All civil case valued between $10,000 and $50,000
Free Mediation Services Available?: No
In February 2004, the 20th Circuit launched its Mandatory Arbitration Program in St. Clair County under authorization from Illinois Supreme Court Rule 86. Under this program, all civil cases valued between $10,000 and $50,000 are automatically transferred into the arbitration program by the court clerk. Parties to other civil cases may move to have their case referred to arbitration as well.
Once a case is transferred to the arbitration program, the Arbitration Administrator assigns three arbitrators by rotation and schedules the arbitration, which takes place at the Arbitration Center. Discovery is limited, and hearings average about two hours. After the hearing, the arbitrators decide the award. The parties then have 30 days to decide whether to accept or reject the award. If the award is rejected, they can continue to negotiate settlement while awaiting trial. At trial, the party who rejected the award must achieve a better result than awarded at arbitration or face sanctions by the court.
The arbitrators are licensed attorneys who have at least three years of experience. The panel includes a chair, who must have five years of experience. To be placed on the court's roster, the arbitrators must attend a 6-hour training. The arbitrators are paid a flat fee per case by the court.
The program's average caseload over the past five fiscal years has been 2,409 cases, with a 79% disposition rate. In fiscal year 2011, 2,587 cases were pending or referred to arbitration. Of those, 2,068 cases (80%) were settled or dismissed. Of the 147 arbitration hearings held, 52 awards were accepted and 61 were rejected. No award was entered for 34 cases; these cases either settled before an award was entered or were pending at the end of the year. Only 15 cases, less than 1% of the program's caseload, proceeded to trial.
Illinois Supreme Court. Illinois Supreme Court Rules, Jun. 4, 2008
Resource Type: Rules - Court
Abstract: The rules apply to actions subject to mandatory arbitration within judicial circuits in Illinois. They include the procedures for the appointment, qualification and compensation of arbitrators, the scheduling of hearings, discovery, conduct of the he...Aug. 2, 2004
Abstract: This rule applies to St. Clair County. It mandates arbitration for cases valued between $15,000 and $50,000. Included in the rule are qualifications to be an arbitrator for the program, as well as procedures for scheduling and conducting the hearings...
Summary: These annual reports summarize activity for all Illinois court-annexed mandatory arbitration programs. Programs featured in the report include the: 3rd Circuit*, 11th Circuit, 12th Circuit, 14th Circuit, 16th Circuit, 17th Circuit, 18th Circuit, 19th Circuit, 20th Circuit, 22nd Circuit*, and the Circuit Court of Cook County mandatory arbitration programs.
The report provides statewide statistics per fiscal year for each arbitration program and covers case types, caseload, average award amount, and average number of days that cases began in arbitration through final resolution. The report also features individual circuit profiles.
*Please note that reports on the 3rd Circuit mandatory arbitration program appear in the 2008-2016 annual reports and that reports on the 22nd Circuit mandatory arbitration program appear in the 2007-2016 annual reports. Reports on the remaining circuits can be found in each of the 2001-2017 annual reports.
2001 Annual Report
2002 Annual Report
2003 Annual Report
2004 Annual Report
2005 Annual Report
2006 Annual Report
2007 Annual Report
2008 Annual Report
2009 Annual Report
2010 Annual Report
2011 Annual Report
2012 Annual Report
2013 Annual Report
2014 Annual Report
2015 Annual Report
2016 Annual Report
2017 Annual Report